LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Former Fox News Channel anchor Gretchen Carlson settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes for a reported $20 million and a public apology Tuesday, ending the case that triggered the downfall of Fox’s chief executive.
Filed two months ago, Carlson’s lawsuit alleged that she was demoted and let go at Fox because she rejected Ailes’ sexual advances and complained about workplace harassment.
In a statement, Fox parent company 21st Century Fox said, “We regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve.”
Carlson was paid $20 million, according to a person familiar with the settlement who spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms of the agreement were confidential.
The former Miss America spent several years on the “Fox & Friends” morning show before being shifted to the afternoon and told in June that her contract wasn’t being renewed.
Carlson said she is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life and promised to work to help women in the workplace. She thanked “all the brave women” who came forward to tell their own stories and others who supported her.
“All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace,” she said.
Ailes, who denied Carlson’s allegations when the lawsuit was filed, had no statement Tuesday, his lawyer said.
The settlement was announced hours before Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren announced she would be leaving the network with a statement that began, “Yes, I have left the Fox News Channel.”
Fox did not publicly explain Van Susteren’s abrupt exit after 14 years, although a person close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity described it as a financial disagreement.
The Washington-based lawyer came to Fox from CNN 14 years ago. For several years, her “On the Record” program aired at 7 p.m. PT, but moved to 4 p.m. when Fox gave a prime-time show to Megyn Kelly.
Hume is a senior political commentator for Fox. He said he’s taking on Van Susteren’s show through the election.
Fox’s co-presidents, Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, said in a statement that “we are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.”
Carlson’s case led 21st Century Fox to launch its own investigation, and other women came forward with stories of being harassed by Ailes, including Fox News star Megyn Kelly. A few women told their stories publicly.
Two weeks later, Ailes was gone, reportedly with a $40 million payout, and is said to be informally advising Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Ailes was hired by Rupert Murdoch to build Fox News from scratch in 1996. He built it into a dominant news network and a force in Republican politics.
Murdoch recently named veteran Fox executives Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine as the network’s new co-presidents.
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